Sunday, March 18, 2012

Week 1 - A Success

The first week is in the books. I must say that the driving experience is much better than I expected. My daily one-way, 26-mile commute is split evenly between 70-mph highway driving and severe stop-and-go traffic down RT2 in eastern Massachusetts.

Originally, I was very nervous about the impact of the aggressive regenerative braking.  I even went so far as to drive my 2005 Prius in its regen mode for the final 2 weeks to try to get used to the concept. That didn't really help as I would rate the Prius regen at a 3 out of 10, while the ActiveE is more like a 7 or 8.

Surprising to me, it only took 2 days for me to get completely used to the behavior.  On day 1, I was stopping 100 feet short of my intended target....pretty embarrassing when in heavy traffic.  By day 2, it was down to 30-50 feet...much more respectable.  By the end of the week, I made the 26-mile drive with just one touch of the brakes and I was much more focused on driving rather than how I was going to stop.

My other point of nervousness was getting on the highway, especially since I drive in eco-mode as often as I can remember to push the button.  Californians have no concept of coming to a complete stop just before getting on a major highway  Only in New England do you have such bad on-ramp design or 5 way intersections guarded by an outdated traffic rotary.  Go west of Concord, MA and you will will experience both of these on a daily basis.

On day 2, I glided down the entrance ramp, glanced down the road and saw a wall of oncoming traffic.  Here was my chance to see how the ActiveE responds.  I came to a complete stop as cars whizzed by me at 65-80 mph.  I found my opening and went for it....0 to 30 pretty quick, as expected.  We got up to 60 just before the next off-ramp...about 9 or 10 seconds.  Not bad, and more than enough to keep me alive for the next 2 years.

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